2020 Conference Call for Proposals

The 2020 International Town & Gown Association's City & University Relations Conference ™️​
Hosted by the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado Boulder

Partners in Action

The Call for Proposal deadline is February 3rd.

Background and Invitation to Present
The City of Boulder and the University of Colorado Boulder are excited to host the 2020 ITGA City & University Relations Conference, June 1st through June 3rd. We are seeking interactive and innovative proposals on topics that provide insight into the evolving nature of the work of universities, government entities, and other community partners.
The 2020 conference theme is “Partnerships in Action" and the conference committee is excited to solicit presentation proposals that embody a wide breadth of town-gown challenges and opportunities through the dynamic lens of multiple stakeholders. While we encourage sessions focused on partnerships, the tracks below also have multiple sub-categories that have been designed to help curate what experiences, programs, and initiatives presentation proposals could also incorporate. 

Presentation Topic Areas
  • Track #1: Inclusion & Equity: This track will examine the importance and value of working to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity and allow colleagues to share examples of current efforts at cities and universities, including best practices, tools, and resources that help to build and sustain inclusion and equity. Suggested topics could include:

    • Creating a culture of inclusion: Creating a welcoming environment; recognizing and valuing the perspectives, backgrounds, life experiences, and world-views of all; making people feel seen and safe; celebrating identities and affinities; creating a climate of inclusive excellence 

    • Responding to bias-motivated incidents: promising practices, tools, and resources that help to build and sustain inclusion and equity while seeking to heal an organization or community from a bias-motivated incident. 

    • Increasing our diversity: Student recruitment and retention; faculty and staff hiring and retention practices/strategies; deepening our ability to share and engage with diverse perspectives

    • Building equity: identifying and dismantling institutional and systemic inequities

    • Collaborative town/gown inclusion and equity efforts: sharing and supporting best practices, tools, and resources across the town/gown borders; building and sustaining inclusion, equity and diversity together

  • Track #2: Sustainability & Resilience: The health of our organizations and communities is dependent on our holistic attention to environmental, economic, and social well being. This track will examine the accelerating impacts of changing climate, demographics, and financial realities which have motivated both academia and local governments to address sustainability and resiliency vigorously and collaboratively. Suggested topics could include:

    • Climate change: anticipating, preparing for and responding to impacts of climate change  and natural disasters (building resilience)

    • Planning for the future: changing neighborhood cultures, new development, higher education enrollment shifts, infrastructure, transportation, and emergency management planning

    • Public-Private partnerships: universities and towns pursuing funding opportunities together; identifying other partners; joint research and pilot projects 

    • Sustainable facilities and practices: high-performance buildings; eco-friendly grounds, landscaping, and building maintenance; university and city programs for sustainable practices; fleet electrification; food waste diversion, recycling, and composting

    • Establishing social resilience: imparting personal skills; creating community connections to support the community response to events, trends, or disturbances

  • Track #3: Innovation & Economic Vitality: This track will focus on cross-sector partnerships with universities, cities, and businesses, and highlight programs related to workforce development, leveraging students and businesses to solve public problems, and navigating issues of affordability and availability of goods and services. Suggested topics could include:

    • Creating a culture of innovation: developing organizational and community tolerance for risk; encouraging and rewarding innovative approaches; investing in people 

    • Entrepreneurship, startups, and emerging business markets: incubator and accelerator programs; exploring the symbiotic relationships between higher education, cities, and industry

    • Partnerships: tapping the resources of your city or university partner; solving problems together; leveraging students and businesses to solve public problems

    • Affordability: The market for and economic impact of on- and off-campus student, faculty, and staff housing; challenges and opportunities maintaining retail diversity 

    • Impact of events and cultural amenities: adding social, economic, and cultural value to the community through arts, music, and sporting events

    • Workforce development: intentional strategies to attract and keep professors, graduates, scientists, entrepreneurs, and businesses; city internship programs for students that build the civic talent pipeline

  • Track #4: Off-Campus Life & Neighborhood Enhancements: This track will explore engagement strategies, opportunities for town/gown partnerships, and promising practices for supporting students wherever they are and to assist them in loving where they live. Suggested topics could include:

    • Transitional programming and engagement: off-campus orientations, support programs for students living off-campus, neighborhood clean-ups, Greek life engagement, neighborhood ambassador programs, party registration programs, commuter students, 

    • Enhancing quality of life in residential communities: nuisance abatement policies, social host, over-occupancy, noise, and associated ordinances

    • Fostering sustainable relationships between permanent residents, landlords/property managers, and student renters: recognizing the impacts and opportunities that student tenants can have in residential areas; partnerships with code enforcement/neighborhood associations

    • Rental challenges faced by student tenants: affordable housing, preleasing, housing and food insecurity, availability of short-term housing, student knowledge/understanding of local ordinances and laws, tenant rights and responsibilities

  • Track #5: Communications & Engagement: This track will explore engaging with the media and sharing one’s story. Colleagues will discuss civic and community contributions and projects that have – or haven’t – had the hoped-for impact. Suggested topics could include:

    • What is the secret sauce in fostering town/gown engagement?: developing effective and collaborative relationships between stakeholders in your community

    • Emergency communication: responsiveness, timing, balance, and clarity in messaging when bad things happen; 

    • What, when and how to share: can I get back to you?: When the media arrive unannounced at your doorstep; announcing successes achieved and goals attained

    • Reaching all audiences: social media and digital engagement; leveraging shared messaging 

    • Overcoming past bad PR: the challenges and opportunities on either end of the good news/bad news spectrum

  • Track #6: Health & Safety: This track will explore the partnerships that can exist between cities and universities and how these interactions can foster a good quality of life for all in the community. Engagement examples could include community-based policing strategies, collaboration between campus and city law/code enforcement, municipal court and student conduct areas, substance use concerns and mental health and wellness. Suggested topics could include:

    • Managing high-risk times: shared police enforcement and major event management during special events, “party” holidays, crime incidents

    • Public health and wellness: challenges and strategies for dealing with substance use disorders (vaping, marijuana, underage drinking); benefits of investing in mental health and wellness programs; university - city collaborations to address high-risk drinking behaviors

    • Neighborhood/community policing: models and strategies for engagement; financial and community-based consequences and confusion surrounding cannabis legislation

    • Approaches to student behavior and misconduct:  restorative justice; community impact circles; municipal court

    • Personal safety and wellbeing:  fire safety; programs that help community members avoid becoming a victim of a crime; habitability

Mobile Sessions
Conference attendees from the Boulder community are invited to submit proposals for mobile sessions on the afternoons of Sunday, May 31st, Monday, June 1st, Tuesday, June 2nd and Wednesday, June 3rd. Mobile sessions offer participants the ability to leave the conference site for unique interactive experiences. Each mobile session will be scheduled for no more than three hours. Transportation and any other costs are the responsibility of the presenters in coordination with the Host Committee. Mobile sessions will be submitted, evaluated and accepted on the same basis as other proposals for concurrent sessions and should address learning objectives and outcomes. These are not meant to be merely campus and/or community tours. Proposals should include a logistics timeline indicating travel time to and from the conference site. Mobile session topics must fit into one of the six tracks. *If you are unsure what track your proposed classroom or mobile style session would align with best, please feel free to contact Susan Stafford at susan@itga.org. 

Suggested Guidelines for a Successful Session

Representative of multiple organizations
Sessions should be representative of town and gown relations, so it is important to include both university and community stakeholder perspectives.
Telling your story
Many times we focus on the “what” without exploring the “how.” We encourage you to share challenges and how you overcame these, as well as any lessons learned throughout the process.
Show your data
Research, data and program evaluation are part of many processes and we are interested to understand this part of your experience. Make sure to share any data/metrics you have, as well as how that has informed your work.
Make it a conversation
Conference presenters can sometimes fall into the routine of lecture-style and/or tour-like presentations that are not always the most engaging for attendees. We want this conference to be an exchange of information, so we encourage you to develop your classroom and/or mobile style session as interactive and conversational as possible.
Submission Requirements
  • Title of innovation or solution
  • Name of a contact person, contact information and names of co-presenters
  • Speaker bio (75 words or less)
  • Track # 
  • Include student enrollment size and population of the community
  • Description of the format and outline of the content and key messages
  • Abstract in 75 words describing your program session (to be used in the conference program)
  • Learning outcomes
  • Indicate whether this is a mobile session
Presentation Information and Important Dates
  • Time: Sessions are limited to a total of 60 minutes, keeping into account the desire for interactive sessions encouraging attendee participation.  
  • Technology: Rooms are equipped with audio/visual capabilities-projector screens and/or flat screen TVs; and adaptors to connect to any kind of laptop/mobile device. 
  • Proposal Submission Deadlines: You must submit your proposal on or before Monday, February 3rd, 2020. 
  • Authors notified of selection: You will be notified on or before March 16, 2020 regarding the status of your proposal.